COMPLEX PTSD - Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder | Kati Morton on support treatment therapy kati morton



Hey everybody! Today I am putting out a video of something that you have asked me a lot about. Complex PTSD What is it? Does it exist? What do we do if we have it? How is it different that PTSD? There's so many questions I'm going to answer for you right now. (Intro Music) So like I said, today I'm going to talk with you about complex PTSD, and I didn't know anything about this. Many of you have asked about it. "Kati I had a friend who had this." or "My doctor talked about this. What is this? I haven't heard of it. Does it exist?" And I didn't know. That's what I love about our community. You all tell me things that are happening, things you're hearing about, and then I'm forced to research it. Figure it out. So I have all my notes, have my DSM, we're gonna talk about this. We're gonna learn together, because I didn't know that complex PTSD was something that exists. And for the true fact of diagnostic purposes, now the company, I shouldn't even say company, but that's what it is. It's the American Psychiatric Association or the APA. Those are the people who put out the DSM. They create it. They decide what goes in and what doesn't. And complex PTSD was something that was proposed. That they tried to get into the DSM. And the APA was like "no, PTSD is enough." We have severe, mild, moderate. We feel that covers it. I understand. They have to make choices. They only add things so often. I mean if you saw the first DSM it was like 10 pages long. And now we have this ginormous book of different diagnosis and different diagnostic criteria. So I hear them. However, after reading about complex PTSD I have to politely disagree with them. I think the APA maybe acted too quickly, didn't really think about it. Because the most common situation that leads to complex PTSD is coming back from war. And if we as clinicians aren't ready and able and educated enough to help them manage their complex PTSD, then we're doing them a huge disservice. And they just put their lives at risk for us, and that just really gets me. So what is complex PTSD? Now I got a lot of my information, because like I said it's not something that's in the DSM. I can't pull up things within the DSM about how it happens, when it occurs, what causes it, you know, how does it run its course I can't find that in here. I can only find information about PTSD itself, post traumatic stress disorder. So I got information from the VA and the National Center for PTSD, and those are the people who lobbied to the APA to get it into this new DSM. So it's a proposed disorder, because many people feel that PTSD itself does not fully capture the severe psychological harm that occurs with prolonged and repeated trauma. I want to highlight that: prolonged and repeated trauma. Now people that get PTSD could have just had, I don't mean just had, but could have had one traumatic event that really was terrible. It was scary. They felt helpless. They worried that their life was in danger. Instead of that anxiety feeling, that feeling of worry and stress that comes after a scary situation instead of it getting better slowly, like we start coming back to our regular self. We don't have flashbacks as often, but PTSD just gets worse. The people who have complex PTSD, wow say that 10 times fast, have had repeated traumas. Also it's believed that cases that involve repeated traumas needed special treatment considerations. That's what they lobbied to the APA for. They feel it needs to be treated differently. Now the biggest concern is our vets, like I said, because of the traumatic nature of their service The fact that they feel scared and potentially helpless almost every day. They don't know if they can get bombed while they're sleeping at night. Every time they go out and leave their camp, they're in another risky situation where they could lose their lives. And a lot of that can feel really helpless. They watch people around them die. This happens over and over and over. It's repeated trauma. You with me? So other examples, other than vets, because this can happen to a lot of people. Concentration camps, prostitution brothels, long term domestic violence victims, or child physical or sexual abuse. that's repeated. I know many of you have reached out to me and said, you know "I was sexually abused or physically abused by a family friend or parent from the ages of 6 to 12." Or some huge chunk of time. That's repeated trauma. And the VA and the National Center for PTSD think that should be called complex PTSD, so I have a video about PTSD. You can check that out too. I encourage all of you to check that out, so that you understand PTSD as a whole since this video is kind of building on that. How is it different from PTSD? Now this was really interesting to me, because if we're in repeated trauma versus maybe one situation How does our mind process it differently? Why is it different? Why do we need a new diagnosis? I'm not one for a lot of diagnosis, but I have to say the VA really, they changed my thoughts about it. Now the first is emotion regulation. Many of you have heard me talk about this in my DBT videos. When I talk about better managing maybe our borderline tendencies where we feel like our emotions just overwhelm us. So people with complex PTSD may feel extremely overwhelmed with emotions all of a sudden, really quickly Like boom! All of a sudden they're very angry and aggressive. I know a lot of the people on the VA website had talked about it and said like "yeah, my husband used to go off the handle, be crying, and then he's screaming. He couldn't regulate his emotion." The second is consciousness. They completely black out or forget the traumatic events. And then many times it will switch over and then they'll be reliving them as if they're right back there. A lot of people dissociate, which is also a component of regular PTSD. But the complete blackouts, the forgetting, isn't as common. Another is self perception. They'll feel hopeless. They're embarrassed. They have so much shame about the fact that they're struggling. That they feel like they can't incorporate back into life. They don't know how to have relationships, communicate with people, connect with people. And that to me is so hard. Because they talk about the stigma. Feeling different from everyone else. And when we talk about people who had repeated trauma my heart goes out to those people. I just like, ahhhh, I feel for them. It's terrible. And then the feeling that even after it stopped. So the trauma stopped, then they still feel like they can't connect. They're not part of, they're not the same as other people. They're embarrassed. They're shame filled because of what happened to them, which is something that they had no control over. Something they were completely helpless to. Now the fourth, and there's just a couple more. There's only six. Is distorted perceptions of the perpetrator or preoccupation with revenge. A lot of people will either, and they talk about two different instances, where someone can either be like "but it wasn't their fault. They didn't mean it." People who had been repeatedly physically or sexually abused are like but like "they were confused" or let's say a cousin or a family friend or they're like "but they're family and I know they didn't mean to." They try to cover it up or pretend that it wasn't a big deal or that they didn't know any better. And then there's the reverse where people are preoccupied with revenge. They're like 'that motherfucker is gonna get it.' They get really focused on that, and their whole life revolves around revenge. That can be really hard for the other people in relationships with them, to deal with. The other, the fifth is, like I was just talking about relationships with others. They isolate. They don't trust people very easily. As so you can see how maybe that makes maybe marriages really difficult. Someone comes back from war and they're distrustful of you and they isolate. They don't want to see family or friends. They don't want to go out. They want to stay at home. They want to just do their thing. Leave me alone. It can be really hard. And the last is one's system of meanings; they have a loss of sustaining faith or sense of hopelessness and despair. So this was the hardest for me to read about, because it's almost like the core of who they are, what the meaning in life is, what the meaning of themselves is was lost. And that is just so hard to hear that people are feeling that way. That people are going through that. And we're not even recognizing this as a diagnosis. Bleh! Makes me feel sick. So, why does this happen? What is this? What do we do? What's the treatment like? It's pretty much the same as PTSD where we do a lot of reintegration into situations that may be triggering. That may trigger any kind of flashback or dissociation. We ground ourselves. It's a progressive treatment. We do it little by little. We don't just throw you in there in the deep end and be like fix this, figure it out. I don't care if you're having a panic attack, you're freaking out, we're just gonna try and do this. It's a slow progressive therapy. But the difference with complex is that they work a lot on interpersonal difficulties. So all of those things: the distrust, the focus potentially on revenge, the pretending the perpetrator didn't really mean to, or their struggle with emotion regulation and lashing out, being really scary potentially to the people in their life We work a lot on that. And that's how the treatment differs. There's a lot of relational work. There's a lot of couples or family work that's integrated into this, because when someone has repeated trauma it can be really hard for them to move past it. Really hard to communicate And to completely trust and love and get back into the relationships they had before the trauma started happening. And so I want you all to consider those around you who may have had repeated trauma Maybe you could share this video with them Maybe you could work and seek to understand. Refer them to the VA or other facilities that can offer help. Refer them to therapists in the area. Be there to listen and seek to understand, because a lot of it, sounds like they just feel shame filled. They don't know what to do. They're embarrassed of their situation. They don't know how to reintegrate back into life after these terrible things have happened to them, so we as a community can help better support these people. We can share this video. We can like this video. We can talk about complex PTSD and how different it is from regular PTSD, because it's important for people to feel understood. That's the whole reason I love our community is because we're all in this together. Right? We're working together. Everyone's situation is a little bit different, but we're all working to share and shed light on the information that's important about mental health. To break through the stigma, so people don't feel so shame filled and hide in the shadows isolating. They know they can they can speak up. They can talk about it, and we're here to listen. And we're here to better understand their situation, so please share. Please comment. Please give it a thumbs up! Let people know that this stuff is important. We need to talk about it, because people are struggling and we know the more support and information we can put out there the better.

Author Since: Mar 11, 2019

  1. Guys, I relate to the continual mental/emotional abuse as complex and persistent trauma exposure. Nonetheless it's up to me, and I won't presume what you are doing with your life, to take ownership of your healing. I can sit through this talk and apply the wartime example to my case. It doesn't illegitimize how I'm looking at the situation that my personal experience isn't illustrated in this video. It doesn't illegitimize the substance of the video. If I thought it did, it would only distract from my healing. 

    1) I can look at problems from outside my own self-centered perspective. God knows it's like a friggin' holiday to not be so damn self-centered 
    2) the model applies to what people are grumbling about. The mission of the video is to align with a powerful collective that can influence the outcome of research and diagnosis tools for the future. 
    3) You can see that complex PTSD just has a lot more steps and it's still just a matter of breaking down what you are working on into smaller pieces or steps 
    4) the inter-relational piece of this therapeutic process is significant. 
    If you aren't looking at the sense of self as it relates to other people with interpersonal therapy (even if you see someone for Individual), you have a world of things to discover. You might even start with appreciating that your opinions matter, they certainly influenced my willingness to write this. So consider an additional definition of your selves as you relate to other people.

  2. Thank you Katie!
    Can you suffer from childhood ptsd, then have cptsd, after being in a narcissistic relationship for years?

  3. Hi Kati I appreciate you talking about this. Childhood emotional abuse and neglect can also create this for a person. A really good book that discusses this in terms of childhood abuse and neglect whatever the abuse is: Complex PTSD: From Surviving to Thriving. Author Pete Walker. He suffered from it as well as being a therapist treating others. He describes the symptoms and struggles very well as well as giving helpful tools and treatment suggestions. He would say treatment needs to be different from PTSD. I hope you might look into it or anyone on here who is looking for good answers to their struggle. Kati, I appreciate your willingness to keep learning about new things!

  4. I've always struggled heavily on the last one. C-PTSD should be more acknowledged. I've always felt alone with this diagnosis.

  5. Amazing video i defo have complex ptsd but its so hard to explain i cant think of one specific trauma i was in a 18 year long domestic abuse relationship where every single choice was made for me .. i became just a slave to his needs when i wasn't being pinned to the wall.. and its so much different from ptsd it definitely needs recognising in the diagnostic criteria xx

  6. Um… So, I just realized that I got the lottery for Complex PTSD, and I wanted to say was that your personal imput about what you feel for people that have this goes such a long way and I wish people were ore like you. People deem that as being pityful and that they don't like it, but I don't understand that and I get confused sometimes.

  7. Why are you 'forced' to talk about this in your words? Do you want to be a life-long learner to help others or not?

  8. I think it’s really important to also acknowledge the trauma of both childhood and adult emotional/mental abuse. Emotionally abusive relationships can definitely cause complex ptsd to develop

  9. I had a childhood with violence and lack safety and I went to war. I was called bi polar for years before getting help for PTSD. Vets feel scared and wont admit it. Denial. "I am not afraid of anything". We are trained to believe that and we have fear stuffed way back in our mind so it comes out in cold sweat nightmares and other horrible things.

  10. This makes me feel no better about what I could be suffering with. It was physical or sexual, it was just petty ass emotional abuse. It started off as an annoyance that eventually turned into something I self-consciously started to believe. It pisses me off I was that sensitive that shit like this breaks me. She toyed with my emotions, my trust, any happiness was gone, my self-worth gone, self-acceptance gone, self-compassion gone and my self-fucking-esteem was shattered. The cunt bag nitpicked at me so much for almost a year it eventually pealed away everything I had. The fact how badly she was treating everyone and that she turned my parents on each other, I have no respect for her. At the time my family meant everything to me. So when things started to fall apart the way and how quickly they were, it broke my heart. Growing up my dad worked to support us while our mom stayed home. But every Friday we would all go out grocery shopping together, most of the time all 4 of us were eating dinner together, were asked about our day and it felt like a home I wanted to be at. Even after the divorce, they were still on good terms up until cunt bag comes along.

  11. I need calm talks.Not LOOUUUD USA people who have no idea.Lower that voice It's serious You will really trigger someone BADLY.

  12. this is being bullied traumatized time after time and you cant escape and no one cares and watches you suffer giving there okay. I have all these symptoms from being bullied but its hard to get people to understand and help because its "just bulling" but people are still killing themselves from bulling but the psychology community still doesn't take it seriously.

  13. Hello me, meet the real me
    And my misfit's way of life
    A dark black past is my
    Most valued possession
    Hindsight is always 20-20
    But looking back it's still a bit fuzzy
    Speak of mutually assured destruction?
    Nice story, tell it to Reader's Digest!

    Feeling paranoid
    True enemy or false friend?
    Anxiety's attacking me and
    My air is getting thin
    I'm in trouble for the things
    I haven't got to yet
    I'm chomping at the bit and my
    Palms are getting wet, sweating bullets

    Hello me, it's me again
    You can subdue but never tame me
    It gives me a migraine headache
    Sinking down to your level
    Yea, just keep on thinking it's my fault
    And stay an inch or two outta kicking distance
    Mankind has got to know
    His limitations

    Feeling claustrophobic
    Like the walls are closing in
    Blood stains on my hands and
    I don't know where I've been
    I'm in trouble for the things
    I haven't got to yet
    I'm sharpening the axe and my
    Palms are getting wet, sweating bullets

    Well, me, it's nice talking to myself
    A credit to dementia
    Some day you too will know my pain
    And smile its blacktooth grin
    If the war inside my head
    Won't take a day off I'll be dead
    My icy fingers claw your back
    Here I come again

    Feeling paranoid
    True enemy or false friend?
    Anxiety's attacking me
    And my air is getting thin
    Feeling claustrophobic
    Like the walls are closing in
    Blood stains on my hands
    And I don't know where I've been

    Once you committed me
    Now you've acquitted me
    Claiming validity
    For your stupidity
    I'm chomping at the bit
    I'm sharpening the axe
    Here I come again, whoa
    Sweating bullets

                                                     —Megadeth, Sweating Bullets

  14. There's a hormonal bit to this too: There is a connection between PTSD and low testosterone levels. Low testosterone levels cause mood swings and helplessness. …so if you give them test, then that's half the therapy right there.

  15. I think it might be time to make an updated video. There's a bpd vs cptsd video that much better explains cptsd but I think it deserves its own separate redo.

  16. Huge over-emphasis on war vets. Yes, that is perhaps the clearest depiction of PTSD and C-PTSD but it is grossly incomplete. There is tremendous research around developmental trauma also leading to C-PTSD. Whatever people might think about Van Der Kolk, there was a push for the DSM diagnosis of C-PTSD for children of abuse, neglect, and attachment injury from him and others. Current diagnosis for children (and adults of childhood trauma), such as RAD and BPD are limiting, inaccurate, and even further harming.

  17. For a long time, I felt that my traumas weren’t significant compared to people with PTSD. I did not meet the criteria for PTSD because I did not have ONE traumatic experience that led me to have post traumatic stress. I had a life long experience of trauma that led me to post traumatic stress. From now on, I will not treat myself as if my post traumatic stress is not as severe as people with PTSD. The problem was not that I had less trauma… the problem is that people who have more than one trauma get left out.

  18. Kati, you are like a light in the tunnel that gives us hope. Thank you very much for your time here and for your kindness! Love you and wish you the best ❤

  19. Thank you, great chanel you have! I am child psychiatrist in Canada, and I complete agree with you. Best regards

  20. My regular self is a self harming suicidal a**hole who can't even get suicide right. I have yet to be diagnosed with ptsd because I don't trust my therapist and never really talk to her about my childhood physical mental emotional and sexual abuse from the age of 5 to 14. I can't trust anyone because I've trusted people in my life with my life and they have always hurt me in some form,sexually mentally physically or emotionally. Lately the flashbacks have gotten worse and worse and worse. I can't even trust my closest person that I have in my life (my brother) to help or even understand me, you know? My brother has been diagnosed with ptsd but he never went back to therapy to get the help he needs, btw. I have lost the majority of my childhood due to forgetting all that happened, I can remember for the most part the trauma I've had to endure.

  21. Kati!! Can you do an updated video on C-PTSD? It’s relation to childhood trauma or emotional abuse? Super interesting watch! Thank you ♥️💕💝

  22. Hey Katie it's going to sound random by I have a question for you about something you never tackled : could you make a video about giftedness? Especially in adults (Mary Elaine Jacobsen's book is the best one on the subject I reckon) but it's very important that gifted individuals know that they are and may thus avoid false psychiatric diagnosis ( most often bpd)? You're the best thanks!

  23. Abused by cops having your house surrounded by a SWAT team and being dragged from your home because a racist white punk thought it would be ok

  24. I am an only-child (I'm 21 now). I was psychologically abused by BOTH of my parents for ALL of my life; I was psychologically AND PHYSICALLY abused REGULARLY until I hit puberty. After my parents repeatedly denied the physical/psych abuse I endured for //too// //long//, this made their remaining psychological abuse reach new heights on a MONTHLY basis. It never weakened. BUT HEY! IT DOESN'T STOP THERE LOLOL!!!! Because I was raised by people who would, by default, give me C-PTSD, G.A.D., and Panic Disorder…the psych. abuse started to transcend my own, already-weakened intuition/self esteem which led to self harming on a regular basis (life-threatening, terrifying) AS WELL AS suicidal thoughts /and/ actions (a dangerous and terrifying thing to experience at such a young age and for too long with no end in sight). So, being as alone and helpless as I was FOR YEARS–not having a sibling or a direct witness of ANY kind thus kept their psychological warfare constantly invading me even if i would try to communicate how horrible i felt………..I could write you a whole book that no one would bother to read. The point: there is not 1 kind of abuse/traumatic experience that does not leave a severe psychological impact. I can't even go out in public like I used to; I have to be on medical leave from school even though school used to be my favorite place in the world. You see? It doesn't only affect this 1 aspect of my life, but I know if I kept going it would be pretty apparent and the maybe psychological/emotional/mental abuse would be taken way more seriously. It takes a lot longer to heal your mind than it does for a scratch, deep cut, broken bone, or bruise to heal/subside. Think about that today, thank you.

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